Saturday, December 31, 2011

The end is knee

I thought I'd finish the year with another pike session if the weather was anything like clement today. There was no rain falling when I woke and looked out of the window, so piking I would go. One thing I have decided for my current piking 'campaign' is that rain means a stillwater where I can shelter under my brolly in one swim all day, dry means a drain where I can wander a bit. When I shone my head torch onto the water from one of the bridges spanning the drain I knew I'd dropped a clanger. Yesterday's rain had not only sodden the land, it was being pumped down the drain at a rate of knots. Undeterred I set off for a short walk.

The reason for the short walk (more of a limp, actually) was an aching right hip that flared up last time out. The same knee is also making clicking noises and throbbing a bit, and the ankle below is none to happy. If this carries on I can see me having to change my fishing tactics (fish near the car every time) or give up altogether. Long limps are not an exciting prospect. But enough of the moans.

If the weed and debris coming down with the flow wasn't too much I'd be able to hold baits out to both banks without any trouble. Rather than chance a far bank bait in the dark I dropped two in close and waited until it was light, which was slow coming in the mizzle that had set in, before swinging a third bait to the opposite side of the drain.

Warra mess
There was a strong, but warm, wind blowing from the south west, and once settled behind my brolly I was pretty cosy. It wasn't long before the far bank bait was on the move. Weed. And so it went for the rest of the session. Baits being wound in to have the lines cleared of 'washing'. This went on to both close and far bank baits, which I moved around the general area, until I called it quits at three before another of the light showers that had been falling on and off since the day tried to brighten up around nine thirty arrived. Not the best of sessions, but better than sitting at home arguing with people on the interweb!

As the year closes it's time for the traditional round up of notable captures. Except they have been thin on the ground this year. So I'm not bothering! My one capture of note was the longed for double figure tench that I've been trying to catch since the spring before starting this blog back in 2006. Not a specific double figure tench, any double figure tench would do.

I've fished four waters that might have provided me with such a fish. It was, therefore, doubly satisfying that it came from the one which I found all by myself - in as much as I did the research on a water I new held tench, discovered they could well grow to double figures, and sussed out how to catch them. At 10lb 5oz it is probably my most satisfying personal best of all because of the effort I put in over the four springs I've fished the water. Doubly satisfying that, until the day before I caught it, I had only met two other tench anglers fishing there.

Having achieved this target I'm in a bit of a quandary as to what next spring's fishing should be. There's a part of me saying that I should carry on at that water to see if I can catch more doubles from it, even bigger ones. There's another part of me thinking that I should follow up a new lead. A third bit of my confused brain is suggesting that the syndicate water I joined this year ought to be fished. I hate having choices.

The other major development in 2011 has been the return of my pike mojo. I've got the bug for catching them again. I haven't got the urge to go chasing round the country in search of monsters or mammoths, but I have been getting to local waters well before dawn and fishing hard (mostly!). More critically my mind is always thinking about pike fishing and I get irritable if I don't, or can't, go piking every few days! It's been enjoyable too - even today! Should I get lucky and catch any decent pike, however, you'll not be reading about or seeing them on this blog. Not without a great deal of misleading information at any rate! That's pike fishing for you. It's a secret squirrel game. Which is all part of the fun.

Photoshop - the piker's friend!
One thing I do have planned for next summer, and I really do intend to carry the threat out in 2012 (all being well...), is some eel fishing. I need to get my finger out and follow up a lead I got in the Autumn. It should just take a phone call to sort out.

Before spring arrives there are more pike to be caught - ageing joints permitting. Here's hoping we don't get a big freeze in January or February.

May your lines be tight in 2012.